Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fierce Conversations, Aggressive Listening

Susan Scott's role at Seattle’s Fierce, leadership development and training experts, is to get people to talk to each other. Not small talk; no chit chat or go-over-the-game with your mates, but to get people to really talk to each other and often in terse situations. In a room where there are competing viewpoints, you’ll know that having a productive conversation is harder than two props binding in the scrum.

In her book Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time, Susan Scott quotes French philosopher Emile Chartier “Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it’s the only one you have.”

When everyone’s success depends on the outcome of a conversation – with a client, a direct report, a board – in a meeting, call, hallway, audio, having a two way exchange is crucial. Making sure what needs to be said is said. Don’t leave it off the table. Good management is about saying things you don’t want to say. Along with being inspirational, being in charge means taking corrective action with the people you manage. There are times to challenge and confront people when needing to have frank conversations.

It’s a complex intuitive task of a CEO. You have to persuade others to come with you. We don’t want to walk away from a conversation the same when we entered it. If you can think that every exchange you have can change your world in some way, you need to leave wide open the door to opportunity. Have a fierce conversation today.

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